HE Shared Legal is a national shared legal guidance and support service for the UK higher education sector.

HE Shared Legal provides ad hoc legal guidance to subscriber institutions in relation to individual enquiries.  In addition, we circulate generic guidance in the form of a regular newsletter highlighting legal developments of relevance to the sector.  We also offer a legal services consultancy service, which is available to all HE institutions.

Newsletter Issue 98

Data Protection: ICO blog: advice for organisations in relation to a possible no-deal Brexit
Employment: Dismissing an employee in receipt of long term disability benefits; Whether an independent professional expert was required on the disciplinary panel to address certain allegations of misconduct; The Good Work Plan outlines key changes to employment law rights
Governance: Companies House: incorporation applications to be checked for compliance with UN financial sanctions; BEISC Report recommends measures to address SME productivity; First Minister of Scotland’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership publishes recommendations
Commercial: Student accommodation survey report highlights mental health
Read Full Article…

Newsletter Issue 97

Data Protection: ICO guidance on passwords and encryption; ICO call for views on updating direct marketing code of practice;
Employment: Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (Commencement No1) Regulations 2018; European Court of Justice judgement on payments in lieu of annual leave on termination; Government response to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Consultation; Inquiry into Non-Disclosure Agreements
Commercial: Budget 2018: Capital allowances for structures and buildings; Contractual limitation periods of signing a document as a deed; the scope of an ‘entire agreement’ clause
Procurement: Equal treatment and previous participation;
FAQ: Employment: Do mistakes in a dismissal process impact affect the fairness of the dismissal, even if the employer believes that the dismissal was inevitable notwithstanding the procedural failings?
Read Full Article…

GDPR: First ICO enforcement notice under GDPR and DPA 2018

On 20 September 2018 it was reported that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) had issued an enforcement notice dated 6 July 2018 to AggregateIQ Data Services Ltd (AIQ), using its powers under section 149 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) for the first...

Employer vicariously liable for rogue employee’s data breach

Our December 2017 Newsletter reported in detail on the case of Various claimants v Wm Morrisons Supermarket PLC [2017] EWHC3113 (QB), in which the High Court considered the extent of an employer’s liability when a rogue employee deliberately disclosed his colleagues’...

Newsletter Issue 96

Employment: Employer vicariously liable for rogue employee’s data breach; Professor raises complex and multiple employment claims against university; Ambiguity in employee letter of notice; Employment tribunals and the construction of employment contracts
Equality: Supreme Court -Refusal to bake cake with message supporting gay marriage not discriminatory
Data protection: First ICO enforcement notice under GDPR and DPA 2018; ICO: data protection fee enforcement action
Governance: Government announces TEF plan on ‘grade inflation’
Charity: Changes to service for updating charity details
FAQ: Procurement – Can a contracting authority be party to a framework agreement, even though it did not sign the original agreement?
Read Full Article…

Newsletter Issue 95

Governance: Disclosure of criminal allegation and acquittal in the context of an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate;
Employment: TUPE – HMRC now applying NMW penalties to new employer; TUPE – ‘transfer of economic entity’ and ‘administrative reorganisation’; Menopause policies and employer support; Victimisation and bad faith;
Procurement: House of Commons Library briefing paper published;
Charity: Code of Fundraising Practice;
FAQ: Contracts – Do under-18s have capacity to enter into contracts? Read Full Article…

Charity: Code of Fundraising Practice

On 7 September 2018, the Fundraising Regulator announced a Consultation on the Fundraising Code. The consultation concentrates on the style, presentation, clarity and accessibility of the code. The code together with the rulebooks for street, door-to-door and private...

TUPE: ‘transfer of economic entity’ and ‘administrative reorganisation

The conjoined cases of (1) Mrs S Nicholls (2) Ms E Schwartz v (1) London Borough of Croydon (2) Ms J Hacker and Others: UKEAT/0003/18/RN and (1) Ms J Hacker and Others v (1) London Borough of Croydon (2) Mrs S Nicholls (3) Ms E Schwartz  UKEAT/0004/18/RN provide legal...


Frequently asked questions

What is HE Shared Legal?

HE Shared Legal is a shared, non-profit-making, legal guidance and support service for HE institutions throughout the UK.

What does HE Shared Legal do?

There are three main elements to our work:

  • Shared, "in-house" legal service – providing guidance and support with (ie generally, answering) specific legal enquiries in the manner of an in-house lawyer
  • Generic guidance – publication of regular newsletters and FAQs on a wide range of legal topics of relevance to HEIs
  • Legal services consultancy – assistance and support with the selection, engagement, instruction and,if required, ongoing monitoring of external legal advisers
What is the significance of the ‘in-house’ aspect?

As far as possible, HE Shared Legal works with institution representatives on a friendly, informal basis, as if the HE Shared Legal lawyer was physically embedded within the institution concerned. We also endeavour to establish a strong working relationship with the relevant HEI managers and a sound understanding of the institution and its approach to governance, risk management, etc.

What areas of law are covered?

The service deals with nine broad areas of law, as follows:

  • Employment
  • Property
  • Charity
  • Environmental
  • Commercial Agreements (including procurement law)
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Corporate and governance
  • Tax, insurance and pensions
  • Intellectual Property and IT law
Are there any other aspects to the work of HE Shared Legal?

In addition to the three main elements described above, the service also offers the following:

  • Preliminary transaction and case planning
  • Trouble shooting
  • The conduct of joint projects
  • The development of standard procedures and documents
What are the limits to the HE Shared Legal service, ie what does HE Shared Legal not do?

The service has no mandate to deal with the following:

  • Provide professional legal advice, with the benefit of legal liability (as opposed to informal, legal ‘guidance’ and ‘support’)
  • Represent institutions in relation to dealings with third parties
  • Conduct cases or transactions, although preliminary case/transaction planning is provided

Where support of this nature is required, HE Shared Legal will be happy to assist with the selection and engagement, on competitive terms, of suitable specialist legal advisers.

Who are the typical users of the service?

The service may be used by any nominated representative within a subscriber institution. Typically, the users of the service will be senior managers from one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Finance
  • Commercial
  • Governance
  • HR
  • Estates
  • Registry
  • Procurement
When did the service start?

The service opened for business on 1 May 2012.

How many institutions have joined the service?

There are currently eleven subscriber institutions, located in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How is HE Shared Legal funded?

Having been funded initially by HEFCE grant, the service is now financed by subscription fees from subscriber institutions.  We also offer legal services consultancy to other HEIs and relevant sector bodies.

How much is the subscription?

The current subscription fee is £9,500, exclusive of VAT, covering the period of twelve months from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019. There are no additional usage or other charges.

How is the service staffed?

There are four members of staff – all lawyers (of whom three are qualified in Scotland as solicitors, one is currently unregistered, and one is also qualified to practise law in Greece).  All four lawyers have a predominantly commercial background, which is suited to the ‘business to business’ character and ‘employer-side’ role of much of their work.

What legal form does the service take?

HE Shared Legal Limited is a company limited by guarantee, managed by its Principal Lawyer, who is the managing director of the company.  The company is planning in the longer term to convert the service from a subscription basis to a full VAT cost sharing group or some other suitable structure involving a measure of 'ownership' by the subscribing institutions.

Finally, what are the main benefits of the service?

The principal benefits of a subscription to HE Shared Legal are as follows:

  • Ready access to experienced legal resources at low cost
  • Potential to achieve substantial savings on external legal fees
  • Assistance with development of good practice and assurance
  • Access to sector-wide intelligence and contacts on legal issues
  • Part of the HEI 'corporate armoury'

For further information, please contact HE Shared Legal on 0141 237 5880 or enquiries@hesharedlegal.ac.uk.